Friday, September 19, 2014

Tully Lake Campground and Recreation Area Accessibility

LeeAnn LaRue worked as a seasonal recreation assistant for DCR’s Universal Access Program this summer. As an avid outdoors person and mother of a person with a disability, she offers this accessible review of a favorite camping and recreational area. Thanks LeeAnn for this Guest Post!
Open water for paddling among islands at Tully Lake
Tully Lake Campground and Tully Recreation Area are two locations in north central Massachusetts that have several features that make them inviting for those with disabilities.   Located in Royalston, MA, the surrounding forest and lake with its several islands are full of beauty and recreational possibilities for all. Recently, Tully Lake Campground has been featured online in the Boston Globe, Yankee Magazine, and in AMC Outdoors Magazine as a great spot for family-friendly, tent-only camping and non-motorized boating in a pristine area.
Tully Lake Campground is located at the base of Doane’s Falls and is surrounded on three sides by the beautiful Tully Lake.  Its campground offers two accessible campsites and accessible restrooms.  The terrain to get to the accessible campsites is a gravel/dirt road which may be challenging but do-able for those in a wheelchair.  The two handicapped parking spots are near the path to the accessible sites.  
Upon close inspection, the two sites are about 80 yards and 164 yards from the parking area.  This distance might be a challenge for those who are not so athletic but with a little help can be accomplished.  The campfire ring is ADA approved which means it is higher for easy access. Picnic tables at these two sites are accessible and meet the ADA guidelines.   One of the accessible sites has direct access to the water, however the path - although gently sloped - is not wide enough for a wheelchair to pass.  The restrooms are accessible, clean, and a ramp leads to the doors.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Wheelchair Accessible Summits in Massachusetts

Accessible trail on Mt. Greylock
With fall colors beginning to emerge, it is a great time to find yourself at a scenic vista in New England. Within DCR’s Massachusetts State Parks, there are three distinct accessible summit opportunities. In all three places the summit area is reachable by car with a daily parking fee of $2 for Massachusetts residents, $4 for non-residents.

Wachusett  Mountain is a well-known single mountain in central Massachusetts, complete with a popular downhill ski concession. Pass the ski concession and keep going on your drive to the top, 2000 feet above sea level. There are several designated spots for closest parking. The viewing tower is not far away at the terminus of a gradually ascending paved trail used by hikers and bicyclists. The tower’s viewing area is securely ramped around the base and offers seating with views in all directions. 
Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire is the most visible mountain to the north. On a clear day you can also see the Berkshires to the west and Boston’s skyline to the east. In the fall you may find birdwatchers scanning for migrating hawks. Be aware that there are no restrooms at the summit, so plan to stop at the park visitor center on your way up or down. There is also no seating along the walk to the tower, so bring your own folding chair if a place to sit is needed.